Whether you’re a determined offroader, need the extra space or just enjoy being a little higher on the road, these SUVs have it all
BMW X2: PUTTING INDIVIDUALISM FIRST
BMW’s fun and funky X2 is for youthful motorists who are non-conformists and want their individuality to be reflected in everything they do. A clever cross between a compact SUV and a coupé, it’s also a headturner, owing to its bold, sporty design. A lot of thought went into designing the cabin to keep it airy and light. As a result, the vehicle appears to be spacious, even when seated in the back row, despite its compact size. Nevertheless, judicious consumers will battle to decide between the X1, which is more practical and a tad more spacious, and this new addition to the X model line-up.
Among the fun features that sweeten the X2’s deal are crash sensors for safety, automatic tailgate operation, rear-view camera, park distance control and servotronic control, which adjusts the amount of steering assistance to balance the speed of the car.
On the road, this urban coupé is a pleasure to drive, with smooth acceleration. Should your hobbies include a sport like golf, which requires room for your kit, you could get started with the X2. However, as your handicap improves and your range of clubs expands, you might need to upgrade to something more spacious.
As is to be expected in a vehicle that’s about individuality, there are many options for personalising your X2 to ensure it stands out and is in synch with your unique personality.
TIGUAN ALLSPACE: SPACE AND COMFORT
More space in your vehicle no longer has to compromise its design or overall looks. To cater for those needing to transport two or more people in their Tiguans, VW introduced the Allspace – a sexy seven-seater compact offering – to the already popular model line-up.
When parked next to the five-seater, the design difference isn’t stark and the bigger vehicle doesn’t look oblong. Instead, it appears to be smoother and better-rounded, thanks to well thought-out, intelligent design and engineering which allowed for tweaks such as larger side windows and a slightly raised bonnet to achieve the needed space without ruining a goodlooking SUV.
Although the addition of 215mm in length and an extra row of two seats makes the vehicle slightly heavier, this hasn’t impacted its performance. It remains an easy drive and accelerates quickly enough to overtake vehicles on busy roads. At no point do you feel as if you’re hauling a pantechnicon when you’re behind the wheel of the AllSpace.
As with most seven-seaters, the boot space is severely compromised when the two extra seats are in use. Also, while children will find it exciting to be seated in the third row, average-sized adults will find it uncomfortable due to the limited leg- and headroom, especially on long journeys.
We love the fact that the seats are electronic, making it easy to access the rear without needing to use incredible force to lift or flatten the third row. Among the features in this vehicle are parallel parking assist, gesture control system, trailer assist and an offroad exterior package that increases the approach by seven degrees, as an optional extra.
ISUZU MU-X: UNPRETENTIOUS QUALITY
When Chevrolet re-entered the South African market in the mid-2000s, it rebranded the very successful
Opel Corsa Utility to the Chevrolet Utility, imposing the bow-tie badge on it in the hopes of continuing its runaway success. To further build the Chevrolet brand in a South African market that isn’t easily penetrable, the company launched the Trailblazer, a seven-seater SUV meant to compete with the likes of the Toyota Fortuner. However, while its refined exterior design led, local motorists didn’t shower it with love.
Following the shocking exit of Chevrolet from the local market in 2017, Isuzu – now a stand-alone brand – launched the mu-X. It joined the much-loved and no-nonsense KB, one of the market-leading doublecab bakkies. Having first launched the mu-X in 2013 in Far Eastern and Australian markets, Isuzu built on its legacy as a non-pretentious brand that builds cars to last. It also took the time to make improvements on the new offering that would give it a competitive edge. The result is an effortless, medium SUV that gets the job done.
The interior’s pleasant, airy and not too shabby, compared with some premium brands that cost double the price. The 9” touch-screen infotainment system has a navigation system and offers music playing options of CD, DVD, MP3, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and even audio-streaming. There are also two USB ports to ensure all angles are covered when it comes to connectivity.
With customer satisfaction in mind, Isuzu launched the mu-X in a competent three-litre turbodiesel engine that produces 130kW of power and 380Nm of torque, enabling you to tow up to three tonnes. On the road, expect steady performance and a great drive height from this seven-seater.
We can safely say that Isuzu’s ticked all the boxes and added significant comfort to its enhanced, mysteriously named SUV.